Just a Minute, with Stephen Mills, Bear Realty
Company address: 4011 80th St., Kenosha
Company Web site: www.bearrealty.com
Industry: Real estate brokerage, development, management, construction
Number of employees: Ninety real estate agents, 45 employees
Education: Degree in management, Western Illinois University
Family: Partner, Marti; children: Stephen R, Kathleeen, Elizabeth
What’s new at your company? "This year celebrates our company’s 80th year in business. Our residential brokerage business continues to increase in agent affiliation and sales volume. Development saw subdivision lots and residential condominium sales continue at a brisk pace. The leasing/sale of retail, industrial and office has been flat. Construction of single-family homes has picked up the slack from the slowdown on the commercial construction side. Home mortgage and title insurance businesses showing steady growth."
What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year? "We continued to make significant investments in our people from the technology side to the continuing education side."
What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year? "Trying to deal with what has become in some places a no growth "not in my back yard" mentality. The development process for housing and even commercial growth has become a process that now takes years between concept and construction."
What factors are driving the current residential real estate scene in Kenosha and Racine counties? "Needless to say, low interest rates, and southeastern Wisconsin being the beneficiary of the Chicago and Milwaukee markets growing together."
What’s on your "wish list" for Kenosha County this year? "Things have been very good in this area for the past decade. I would like to see it continue. I have no real wish list. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it."
Do you have a business mantra?
"’To those who are successful,
Be always on your guard,
Success walks hand in hand
Along the boulevard.’
This means to me be careful out there. Things can change for the better or worse, and sometimes you don’t know they’re changing."
From a business standpoint, whom do you look up to? "People who, through their vision, hard work and persistence, make things happen."
What was the best advice you ever received? "Will overcomes skill."
March 19, 2004 Small Business Times, Milaukeee